back to articles | November 08, 2023 | Staci Bailey

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying

Explore These 8 Tips Before Buying a New Car Online

Online car shopping gives you access to a wide range of vehicles from the comfort of home. Shop at your own pace and avoid the hassle of dealing with pushy salespeople at the dealership.


Online car shopping gives you access to a wide range of vehicles from the comfort of home. You have the ability to compare prices and features at your own pace and read reviews from other buyers. Shop at your own pace and avoid the hassle of dealing with pushy salespeople at the dealership. Online car shopping can be an easy and convenient way to find your next vehicle.

One of the biggest challenges of online car shopping is that you may not be able to physically inspect or test drive the vehicle before making a purchase. Additionally, there is always a risk of encountering fraudulent sellers or online scams, where you may end up losing your money. We've compiled a list of tips to help you navigate the world of online car shopping.

1. Set Your Budget

Before you shop for a new vehicle it's important to determine your needs and budget. Setting your budget helps you narrow down your options and avoid overspending. By knowing how much you are willing to spend, you can focus on finding vehicles within your price range and make informed decisions based on your financial limitations.

Many online platforms offer tools to calculate the estimated cost of ownership including fuel economy, financing, and insurance rates. This can be very helpful to ensure that you don't overextend yourself. Start your online car shopping journey right by knowing exactly how much you can afford.

2. Research the Car

Researching the car online allows you to easily compare different makes and models as well as access detailed information about their specifications and features. This allows you to conveniently check prices and find the best deals without having to physically visit multiple dealerships. This helps you make an informed decision based on your specific needs while saving you time and effort.

Online car shopping provides the opportunity to read reviews and ratings from other consumers, giving you valuable insights before making a purchase. By reading what other consumers have to say you can gain a better understanding of the car's reliability and performance. This information can help you make a well-informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls.

3. Find a Reliable Seller

Choose reputable online car marketplaces that have a verified seller program and a stringent screening process. Taking this step ensures that the sellers listed on the platform are trustworthy and have a good track record. This will give you peace of mind and increase the likelihood of finding a reliable seller who will provide accurate information about the car you are interested in buying.

Look for sellers who provide detailed information about the car's condition and history and are honest about any potential issues. Consider buying from certified dealers or manufacturers, as they often have strict standards for the quality and reliability of their vehicles. Certified dealerships also typically offer warranties and after-sales services giving you added peace of mind.

4. Ask the Right Questions

Inquire about the car's condition and any potential issues that may not be mentioned in the listing. Ask the seller if there have been any accidents or major repairs done on the car, as these may affect its performance and value. Request detailed photos and videos of the car from different angles to get a better understanding of its overall condition. By asking the right questions, you can gather more information and make an informed decision about the car's suitability for your needs.

5. Understand the Vehicle History

A Carfax report will tell you important details about the vehicle's past such as the number of previous owners, whether it has been involved in any accidents or had any major repairs, and if it has a clean title. It will also provide information on the car's mileage and service records giving you a better idea of how well it has been maintained. Additionally, the report will show if the vehicle has ever been flooded, salvaged, or declared a total loss by an insurance company.

Look for consistent maintenance records to be certain that the vehicle received proper care. Additionally, consider conducting a VIN check to ensure the car has not been reported stolen or salvaged. Taking these steps should give you a clear understanding of the vehicle's history and improve your online car shopping experience while helping you make a more informed decision.

6. Know Your Options

Find out if your purchase comes with a warranty or if you have the option to purchase an extended warranty. Knowing that you are protected against any unexpected repairs or issues that may arise after your purchase can give you peace of mind. It is also important to inquire about any return or exchange policies in case the vehicle does not meet your expectations or if you encounter any problems shortly after purchase.

Online car shopping may come with limited financing options so take the time to learn what is offered by the seller. Ask about the interest rates, down payment requirements, and any additional fees or charges associated with financing. Find more financing options at myAutoloan to get the best rate possible.

7. Perform a Thorough Inspection

If you’re able to view the car before purchase, Inspect the car's exterior, interior, and mechanical components to ensure they are in good condition. Look for any signs of damage, such as dents, scratches, or rust. Check the tires for tread wear and make sure all lights and signals are functioning properly.

If at all possible, test drive the vehicle to assess its performance and listen for any strange noises. Online car shopping doesn’t always allow you to inspect the car before buying but some marketplaces do provide this option. It is also recommended to have a trusted mechanic inspect the car before making a final decision.

8. Negotiate the Price

Research the market value of the car to have an idea of what a fair price would be. Take into consideration factors such as the car's age, mileage, and overall condition. Use this information as a starting point for negotiations with the seller. Be prepared to walk away if the price is not within your budget or if the seller is unwilling to negotiate. Remember, it's important to stay firm and not be swayed by high-pressure sales tactics.

Online car shopping can be an easy and convenient option for buying a new car. Although there are some potential dangers associated with buying a car online, shoppers can take steps to ensure they make a good purchase.